Posted in Initiation, self-actualization, shame, sin, spiritual awakening

Eve’s Serpent – the Voice of the Soul

When Eve appeared to me in the early hours of Saturday morning, she arrived with her companion. This companion, I was told, represented the tools of her trade.

If Eve’s true nature is that of Awakener,

then the tools of her trade are all the ways in which the Soul seeks to be known.

In scriptural literature, this companion was given the form of the serpent and has been cast into the role of demon for luring the original humans into disobedience, thereby causing the “original sin” which forever cast human beings into a life of suffering.

The story of humanity’s “fall” is a myth. Plain and simple, it is a story which attempts to explain the nature of the human condition, while also acknowledging a deep, ancient memory of something more. It is unfortunate that when forming its doctrine, the Christian church chose to use this story as a weapon against humanity – shaming us into believing there is something inherently disordered about us and that life was about seeking approval and forgiveness for “sins” that are not even our own.  Even Jesus, it seemed, could not undo the cause of this “original sin.”  Sigh!

Let’s return to the serpent. In yesterday’s lesson, I spoke of the true nature of Eve as a metaphor for the human calling to awaken – to awaken out of our fearful nature and into the truth of our Soul.  This is what Eve metaphorically did when she chose to eat of the tree of knowledge – her eyes were open and now she could see as the “gods” and was given the ability to reason, discern and exercise her truth.  But before she could awaken, Eve had to hear the voice of her Soul.  The serpent represents that voice.

As I have described in many lessons in both my local and online courses:

Soul is the uniquely creative way in which you have been gifted to find meaning and purpose in your life and the way in which you are called to find fulfillment in service to the betterment of the world. Soul is our true self – the part of us that knows our gift and our call, and is that which compels us to seek out, discover, cultivate and nurture these gifts and this call, empowering us to share our gifts in service to the world.

-Lauri Ann Lumby

 

It is the voice of the Soul that we are here to hear and abide. It is only in listening to the voice of our Soul that we are able to fulfill our purpose for being on this human plane.  It is through the Soul that we are able to discover our unique giftedness, nurture and cultivate these gifts and then find out how we are called to share these gifts – first for the sake of our own fulfillment and second in service to the betterment of the world.  This is why we are here and it is the gentle (and sometimes forceful) whisperings of the Soul that set us forth on that journey.

The Serpent is that voice. The ancients knew this and honored the serpent as the image of the human journey toward self-actualization.  The serpent was representative of knowledge and wisdom and called humanity into its fullness.  It was only the patriarchy who stripped the serpent of its rightful place as teacher and guide – because in order to rule, authority had to be placed outside of us and in the hands of the hierarchy.  With the serpent, authority resides within – as is attested by all the ancient traditions that use the serpent as the symbol of humanity’s journey of awakening to Soul and bringing that Soul into form – the Kabbalah, the Chakra system, the Kundalini of the Yoga traditions, the ancient alchemical symbol of the caduceus – and even Moses’ staff.

The serpent has long been a symbol for human awakening and a representation of the voice and force of the Soul. Isn’t it time we reclaim it as such?

 

For support in awakening to and fulfilling the path of your Soul, check out our Magdalene Priestess Training and the Authentic Freedom Leadership Training for Men.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Jesus, sin, The Seven Deadly Compulsions, Virtual Church

Did Jesus Die for Our Sins?

In anticipation of Palm Sunday and Holy Week, enjoy this excerpt from this week’s Agape’ Meditation Newsletter, supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church.  Learn more about the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church and how to subscribe HERE. 

jesuschristsuperstar-cross

Dying for our Sins

It has been said that Jesus died for our sins. This is true, not as an atonement, or as a payment for our sins, but for the sake of sin itself. Sin is that which arises out of our perceived separation from God. “Original sin” as it is spoken of in the Christian tradition is the perceived separation from God. Unlike other humans before him, Jesus came to understand that this separation from God is not real, but is simply a false perception created so that one might have a human experience. Jesus also understood that this perceived separation is the cause of human suffering. Jesus discovered that his (and our) original nature is not in fact separation from God, but Oneness with God. After Jesus came to understand this Oneness within himself and found the comfort, healing, peacefulness and love inherent in this state of Oneness, he sought to teach it to others.

The problem was that there were those who benefitted from a humanity wallowing in the fear of this perceived separation. People who have forgotten their Oneness with God are afraid and anxious and will either seek to have control over others as a way of trying to escape these feelings of powerlessness or will allow themselves to be controlled by others because of their fear. In Jesus’ time, those who were threatened by the healing promised by Jesus in recalling their Oneness with God, were the government and religious officials who were in positions of power and who benefitted because of people’s fears.

When challenged by those in power about the truth that he had come to know in his Oneness with God, Jesus had a choice. He could have recanted his truth and agreed that it was the Romans or the High Priests who were right, or he could have stood by his truth. Jesus stood by his truth (“I AM”…One with God). It was for the sake of this truth that he was willing to die. This is how we can say that Jesus died for (the sake of) our sins.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Book, Being Human, Christ Consciousness, Freedom, Gifts of Contemplation, Grace, guilt, Jesus, Lessons, Oneness with God, sin, Spiritual Practices, teachers, Virtual Church

Show Me the Way to Go Home

Through the metaphorical Adam, the human conditional was born, providing for us the (false) perception of separation and the sensation of having fallen from Grace. In birthing the human condition, we now know fear and suffering in contrast to the love and peace we knew “at home.”  Jesus (among other prophets) discovered the remedy to the human condition and through his teaching and example, shows us the way to go home. 

 

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter for Sunday, November 23, 2014

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

 But first:  a little humor!  🙂 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWQ-rnXi_n4

 

Scripture Reading:

Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.

1 Cor 15: 20-26, 28

 

Additional Readings:

Ez 34: 11-12, 15-17

Psalm 23

Mt: 25: 31-46

 

Jesus Shows Us the Way

“Since death came through man,

The resurrection of the dead came also through man.”

When the metaphorical Adam chose power over obedience to God, the human condition was born. Instead of the peace, love and joy experienced in our original state of Oneness with God, humans now knew fear – fear that then led to a whole host of fears and their resulting compulsions. Inside of our beings, in this place of perceived separation from God, we felt as if we had fallen from Grace. As a loving parent, understanding our need to explore and to learn, God allowed us this choice, knowing that in this choice, we would suffer and experience the burden of guilt for turning away from God. God, however, did not leave us abandoned, neither did God leave us to our own devices, instead, God sent prophet after prophet after prophet to help remind us of our original nature and to help us find our way home. The greatest of these prophets (in the Christian tradition), was Jesus. Jesus, in his own longing and search for God, found the remedy to the suffering of the human condition (the remedy didn’t alleviate the suffering, but provided a means to transcend it), and generously shared what he learned with others. Thankfully, some of his disciples remembered bits and pieces of what Jesus taught and others wrote it down. Through scripture, specifically a prayerful reading and reflection on scripture, we find glimpses of what Jesus taught and sparks of what he remembered. What is even more remarkable is that like the gurus before him and since, Jesus’ very spirit is accessible as a teacher and a guide to those who seek out and cultivate a deeply intimate and personal relationship with Jesus as the Christ. In this way, Jesus, himself, becomes our teacher – helping us to see the deeper truths beyond the words of scripture, leading us to other resources including human teachers who can guide us. We even find that Jesus can come to us himself to teach and guide us.

The “sin” of Adam allowed us to experience the human condition. Jesus helps us to find our way home.

How have you cultivated a personal relationship with Jesus?

 

 

Spiritual Practices – Inviting Jesus to be our Teacher

jesus

 

Look at the created image of Jesus above. Let it sink into your consciousness.

Close your eyes.

Imagine Jesus, as you saw him in the picture above, standing before you.

Rest with that image of Jesus standing before you. Remain in this visualization for 15 – 20 minutes.

Know that as Jesus stands before you, he is gazing back at you with unconditional love and acceptance.

Allow yourself to receive that love.

Be attentive to any thoughts, feelings, emotions that may arise as you imagine Jesus standing before you.

Record any thoughts, feelings, insights received, etc. in your journal or notebook.

 

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, we acknowledge Jesus as our teacher and as the example of one who learned authentic freedom and taught it to others. Every story, parable, lesson, example that Jesus taught, can somehow be brought back to the core wound and the resulting fears explored through Authentic Freedom. Jesus, while experiencing the fullness of the human condition, found his way to freedom – a freedom, he discovered, was found only in God. This is the freedom we are called to discover, cultivate and embrace through Authentic Freedom. God is the remedy to the suffering of the human condition. Jesus showed/shows us the way.

 

What is the suffering you currently want to transcend or have healed?

 

How might Jesus invite you to turn toward God as a source of healing and support?

Authentic Freedom is available for purchase on Amazon.  Learn more HERE. 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, sin, Spiritual Practices, The Seven Deadly Compulsions, Virtual Church

The Deadly Compulsion of Sloth – Virtual Church Supplement

The theme of this week’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church meditation newsletter is the spiritual compulsion of sloth.  When engaging in sloth, we refuse to use the brain God gave us to reason, discern and exercise truth.  Learn more below:

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Twenty-sixth Sunday Ordinary Time

 

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

 

 

Scripture Reading:

 

R/ (6a) Remember your mercies, O Lord. Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior. R/ Remember your mercies, O Lord. Remember that your compassion, O LORD, and your love are from of old. The sins of my youth and my frailties remember not; in your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O LORD. R/ Remember your mercies, O Lord. Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, and teaches the humble his way. R/ Remember your mercies, O Lord.

 

Ps 25: 4-5, 8-9, 10, 14

 

Additional Readings:

 

Ez 18: 25-28

Phil 2: 1-11

Mt 21: 28-32

 

God is our Teacher

 

If we desire a life of peace and contentment where we experience meaning and our life has a sense of purpose, then we need go no further than to God. God is our teacher when we allow ourselves to turn from our own desires to control, to think we know the answers and to strive after what we want. God, on the other hand, knows what we need and knows the path that would be in our highest good – that which leads us to meaning, purpose and fulfillment. The answers are not in our minds, but are in the intimate connection between ourselves and God.

 

When are you tempted to believe you know what is best for you.

 

When are you tempted to strive after what you want instead of asking God for what you need?

 

Where are you turning to God for guidance and direction in your life?

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Practices – Turning to God for Answers

 

Lectio-Divina is a spiritual practice through which we allow ourselves to be open to God’s nourishment, support, guidance and inspiration in our lives. You are invited to apply Lectio-Divina to the above scripture as a way of opening yourself to God.

 

READ the above scripture slowly and prayerfully, looking for a word that jumps out at you. Receive that word or phrase as God’s guidance for you today.

 

MEDITATE on that word or phrase. Chew on it. Take it in. Reflect on what God might be saying to you through this word or phrase.

 

RESPOND to God’s guidance. Through either speaking or writing, express your thoughts and feelings about God’s guidance.

 

BE WITH your meditation experience. Either rest in silence and allow the meditation experience to find a deeper root within you, or carry it with you as you go about your day, allowing it to further inform your life.

 

 

 

Authentic Freedom

 

Sloth is the spiritual compulsion through which we refuse to use the brain God gave us to reason, discern and exercise truth. Sloth arises out of the fear that we do not know our truth or our path and that we do not have access to knowledge of this truth. Sloth causes us to defer to outside perceived authorities/institutions for decisions in our lives and through sloth we are disempowered. Authentic Freedom reminds us that God alone is the foremost source of authority and that we have access to knowledge of our truth and our path through our intimate connection with God. To access knowledge of our truth and our path, we need only turn to God. believe what God is revealing to us, and then act accordingly. The key is remembering that God reveals our truth to us in the time that is in our highest good….and remembering that God’s time is not always our time.

 

Where are you tempted to defer to outside perceived authorities for guidance and direction?

 

When you do turn to God for guidance, what prevents you from acting on that guidance?

 

How can you risk believing what God is revealing to you for the sake of contentment and joy in your life?

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, sin, Spiritual Practices, temptation, The Seven Deadly Compulsions, Virtual Church

Get Behind Me Satan – Meditation Supplement

Agape Meditation Newsletter – Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service for Sunday, August 31, 2014

 

Scripture Reading:

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”

MT 16: 21-17

 

Additional Readings:

Jer 20: 7-9

Ps 63: 2-9

Rom 12: 1-2

 

Get Behind Me Satan!

Satan is a Hebrew word which means adversary or obstacle. In the Hebrew tradition, Satan is most commonly thought of as existing within us as the inner fears and egoic attachments that try to keep us from the path that God intends for us. In the Christian tradition, Satan is most commonly associated as a personified, external source of temptation – the devil. Whether we perceive Satan as within us or outside of us, the experience is the same – something arising which triggers our fears or flatters our ego so that we are tempted to stray from the path of our highest good, the path God intends for us. In this week’s gospel, Peter acts as the adversary, tempting Jesus to stray from his path. Jesus recognizes in Peter’s words, his own fear of death and the temptation to stray from the path of his truth. Jesus then reminds us that God’s way is not always our way and that we are to trust that what God ordains is in our highest good, even if the path or the outcome seems grim.

 How do you recognize the adversary at work in your own life?

Where are you tempted to avoid the path God has laid out for you by judging it as negative?

 RobertDeNiroAngeHeart

Spiritual Practices – Recognizing Satan

The first step in avoiding temptation is recognizing its presence. The adversary triggers our fear, our unhealed wounds and tempts us through fame, power, and material wealth. The job of the adversary is to tempt us from the path of our highest good and to imprison us in fear and constriction. The adversary flatters us with delusions of grandeur and tempts us into believing we know what is better for us than God does. A good place to begin to recognize the adversary is through knowledge of the seven core spiritual fears:

  • There is not enough (money, safety, power, control, love, sex, things, fame, etc. etc. etc.)
  • I have nothing significant to contribute
  • I cannot (be and live as my truth)
  • I am not loved
  • I am not free to express my truth
  • I do not know (my truth, my path)
  • I am alone (or I can do it alone)

In the coming week, pay attention to when one (or several) of these fears is triggered. Recognize that it is Satan at work, trying to keep you from your path. Then use Jesus’ words to name the adversary and to actively set aside its temptation:

Get behind me Satan!

 

Authentic Freedom

The most important virtue to cultivate is humility, for it is in being humble that all of the other virtues come to fruition – temperance, fortitude, mercy, love, generosity, and zeal. In cultivating humility, we acknowledge that we are nothing without God and that God knows, better than we do, what is best for us. In living humbly, we surrender our lives to God and to the path of our highest good that only God can know. In living humbly, we trust that even the challenges in our lives and the things that do not seem to be working for the good….are. In humility, we trust that God is working all of our life experiences for the good. Humility compels us to turn to God for guidance and direction and allows us to set aside our own ego attachments, wishes and desires to God’s guidance – no matter how challenging the path might appear. Humility leads to spiritual obedience which leads to the freedom God intends for us.

How are you cultivating the virtue of humility?

 

Posted in church, Death, guilt, Jesus, Oneness with God, Raised Catholic, sin, Truth

Re-Framing Jesus’ Death

Jesus died for our sins?

Today marks the beginning of Holy Week.  On this day, Passion Sunday, we reflect on Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, juxtaposed against the heightened tension around his teachings, his eventual trial and death by crucifixion. Having been raised Catholic, this was the time of year when we were vigorously reminded that, “Jesus died for our sins,” as we stood with heads bowed, striking our breasts in self-flagellation while chanting mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Jesus was portrayed as the sacrificial lamb that was sent here to be slaughtered in reparation for our sins.  While I have found personal comfort in praying with Jesus through his trial, crucifixion and death (allowing myself to experience the reality of Jesus’ suffering, thereby finding in him a companion in my humanness) I cannot reconcile the God of love that I have come to know with a god who would send his own son to die.

Was it really necessary?

While I acknowledge that the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection and eventual ascension ushered in a dramatic shift in the spiritual evolution of our planet, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if humanity hadn’t gotten in the way of the amazing message Jesus came to reveal.  It seems to me that Jesus could have been raised from the dead and ascended into heaven without the violence of the crucifixion.  Jesus crucifixion seems wrong, untimely and unnecessary.  While God revealed a higher good in Jesus’ untimely death, I have a hard time believing it was really part of God’s plan. I often wonder if God thought, “Darn it, they missed the point again!  I send them prophet after prophet after prophet to help them understand how much they are loved and instead of receiving my love, they turn against my prophets in fear! When will they learn?” As a result of these quandaries, I have a really hard time upholding the idea that Jesus died for our sins – at least not in the way it was presented to me growing up.   Instead, I have come to approach Jesus’ cruel death by crucifixion from another perspective.

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Another Perspective.

The turning point for me was diligent prayer and meditation on John’s gospel, and at least a million viewings or listenings of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEzEROSj11Q

In Jesus Christ Superstar, in the scene of Jesus’ trial before Pilate, we hear the following exchange:

Pilate:  Then you are a king?

Jesus:  It’s you that say I am.  I look for truth and find that I get damned.

Pilate: But what is truth?  Is truth unchanging law?  We both have truths.  Are mine the same as yours?

In John’s gospel, Jesus reveals the truth that he proclaims will set us free (John 8: 32) – the truth that he came to know within himself and the truth he lived by and tried to share with others.   Jesus came to know the truth of his Oneness with God in love (John 17: 17-23). Through this Oneness, Jesus found the remedy to the fears that are the cause of our sinful behaviors and the path toward our spiritual freedom.  This is the “I Am” truth that Jesus discovered.  This was the truth he tried to help others understand. Knowing, cultivating and embracing this truth is what saves us from the fears that are the ultimate cause of our sins.  So, yes, we can say that Jesus died for our sins, but not as a consequence of our sins, but for the sake of the truth that will heal us from our sin.

The Truth that kills

This truth that Jesus believed, the truth in his Oneness with God, is a dangerous truth.  It is because of this truth that Jesus was killed because it is a truth that seriously threatened the religious and political authorities of his time. If people find the God within and find peace in their Oneness with God and are no longer controlled by their fears, how will the outside perceived political and religious authorities be able to control and manipulate them? If people have found their Oneness with God, then what need do they have for an institution to intervene with a fickle god on their behalf?  If we are truly One with God in love, then what need do we have of the sacrifices and observances that have been put in place to appease an angry God or earn our way back into God’s good graces?  Jesus came to know and taught of a God that loves without condition – who loves us without merit and whose love does not have to be earned, neither can it be denied.  And to the religious and political authorities, a people who believed in their inherent goodness, who knew they were loved beyond measure and who could reason, discern and exercise truth for themselves, was a dangerous lot. It was ultimately his insistence in this truth that got Jesus killed, the truth that frees us from our sin.  As such, I prefer not to say that Jesus died for our sins. Instead, I prefer to acknowledge that Jesus died for the truth.

How would your life change if you believed that you were One with God in love?

How would your life be altered if you believed in your inherent goodness and that you are not only loved without condition, but that you are love itself?

How might your Holy Week observance change if you saw Jesus’ death as a consequence of standing in the truth of love instead of in reparation for sin?

 

Posted in addictions, Body/Mind/Spirit connection, guilt, Healing, shame, sin, The Seven Deadly Compulsions

Sex Addiction – Causes and Compassion

In yesterday’s blog, we explored the subject of sexual addiction and ways to identify this behavior in ourselves or our loved ones so that we might seek out help.  In today’s blog, we will examine some of the possible causes of sex addiction, specifically the deeper emotional and spiritual wounds what are ultimately seeking healing.

Causes of Sexual Addiction

As is the case with other addictions, there are no cut and dried formulas in their cause.  There are, however, some reported similarities between sex addicts which warrant examination:

  • Sex addicts often come from dysfunctional families
  • Many report a past history of having been physically, verbally or emotionally abused
  • 82% of sex addicts reported having been sexually abused as children
  • 80% reported substance abuse as present within their family of origin
  • Many report parents as distant, uncaring and rigid
  • It is theorized that abnormalities in brain chemistry may predispose a person to addictive behaviors, including sex addiction

(Source:  Herkov, M. (extracted 2013). What causes sexual addiction? www.psychcentral.com.)

Behavior modification

As discussed in yesterday’s blog, sex addiction is recognized in compulsive, uncontrollable behaviors most often driven by anxiety.  Addiction language speaks of this anxiety as the “emotional trigger.”    Learning effective methods for dealing with this anxiety or confronting the specific emotional trigger goes a long way in supporting recovery and healing in sex addicts and allows the addict to create new and healthier ways of responding to these triggers.  It has been my experience, however, that in many (if not most) cases, the addictive behavior ultimately has nothing to do with the behavior itself (ie: fantasizing, masturbation, use of pornography, etc.), and simple behavior modification, while necessary, is not enough to facilitate long-term recovery, and more importantly, does not help the addict learn how to cultivate and enjoy healthy, loving, intimacy. For as long as they are indulging their addiction, sex addicts are incapable of experiencing or participating in true intimacy.

Sex Addiction and Need

Instead, sex addiction has much more to do with deeper, unhealed spiritual and emotional wounds that are seeking to be made known so that they may be healed.  Sex addiction, contrary to the belief of many addicts (and their partners), is not about love or intimacy.  Sex addiction isn’t even really about sex.  Sex addiction is about seeking the remedy to a deep, inner, often unnamed pain.  As mentioned above, many sex addicts report having been emotionally, mentally, verbally, physically and even sexually abused as children.  For sex addicts, sexual behaviors (including fantasizing) allowed them to disassociate from the on-going trauma and provided temporary relief from the pain.  In order to facilitate enduring recovery, the addict needs to acknowledge this pain and identify the needs that were left unmet in their childhood.  Some of these needs might include:

  • The need to feel safe and that their needs for food, clothing, and shelter were being met
  • The need to feel of value and as if they had something significant to contribute
  • The need to feel supported in being and living as their most authentic self
  • The need to feel unconditionally loved
  • The need to feel free to express their needs and their truth
  • The need to know their truth and their path
  • The need to feel as if they were not alone

As the addict works on healing these deeper unmet needs and unacknowledged childhood wounds,  learns strategies for getting these needs met and tending to themselves in adulthood, while developing healthy interventions for managing anxiety, the addictive behaviors become less and less necessary.  Addressing these deeper wounds then provides the foundation upon which the addict can begin to cultivate what they have been missing all along – healthy, loving intimacy.

If you believe that you or your partner is suffering from sex addiction, please seek help and support through counseling, psychotherapy or 12-step recovery groups tailored to the needs of sex addicts.

To learn more about sex addiction, check out Out of the Shadowsby Patrick J. Carnes, PhD.

sexaddictioncarnes

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, creativity, Inspiration, Midlife Journey, sin, teachers, temptation

Satan’s Redemption

Satan: gateway to hell or guide to heaven?  The benevolent role of temptation leading us to the goal of our spiritual journey – the birth of our Soul and the discovery of our uniquely creative gifts.

TimCurrySatan

The Hero’s Journey

In Joseph Campbell’s immortal work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, he demonstrates within mythology and sacred text the universal story.  This story illustrates the process through which we are called to our destiny and the journey of getting there.  Our destiny is no less than the birth of our Soul – the way in which we are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose, fulfillment and connection in our life and through which we are called to serve the betterment of the world.  This path is referred to as the hero’s journey because in order to accept the call, persist, endure and succeed, one must be courageous and brave – the hero with the shining blade. 

The Road of Trials

For the hero brave enough to accept the call, the second stage in the journey toward the birth of their creative and spiritual destiny, is initiation. Campbell refers to the first stage of initiation as the road of trials.  It is during this stage in the initiatory journey that the hero encounters the supernatural helper.  Much to the chagrin of the one who journeys, however, the supernatural helper is not there to take our hand and lead us through the field of daisies to our destiny, instead, the role of the helper is to lead us through the labyrinth of our fears,  illusions, false perceptions, ego attachments, addictions, compulsions and excuses.  The helper is there to give us an opportunity to confront everything within us that stands in the way of naming, claiming, nurturing, cultivating and ultimately living our destiny and that includes everything that tempts from our path and tempts us from being the person God made us to be.   The helper leads us into the shadows so that we can return to the light.

SOUL is the unique way you are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose and connection. Soul, when engaged, leaves you feeling fulfilled, content and whole.  My mission is to help you BIRTH YOUR SOUL.  To schedule a workshop or retreat or set up a one-on-one mentoring session, contact Lauri Ann Lumby at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com

Satan

In the Hebrew tradition, this is the role that Satan plays.

Satan is a heavenly angel who was created for the purpose of tempting man, who must in turn exercise his free will to overcome the temptation.  . . . temptation exists so that people can demonstrate and increase their moral strength, thereby turning potential evil into good.  Accordingly, the Sages comment that the expression, “God saw that all He had created was very good,” refers also to the creation of the evil inclination, for its ultimate goal, too, serves man’s attainment of perfection.”   – Rabbi Michael L. Munk, The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet.

In the Christian scripture, this is also the role that Satan plays in providing Jesus with the opportunities to confront his own inner obstacles.  Satan appears at pivotal points in Jesus’ journey – once after his baptism by John and Jesus’ subsequent temptation in the desert, through Peter in his attempts to dissuade Jesus from his path or in his desire to name Jesus King, and finally, in the Garden of Gethsemane.

the passion of the christ devil satan in crowd passion164

The Horned God, Pan, Herne, Cernunnos, Gwynn ap Nudd

In the pagan traditions of Western Europe, there is a rich history of supernatural helpers in the guise of nature gods.  Pan, Herne, Cernunnos, Gwynn ap Nudd, Hades are just a few of the names given to the god of the underworld, the one who guards the world of rest and repose between lives, the shadow world (of our fears, illusions, etc.) and fertility.  He is a warm, moist, salty God (to borrow the words of Edwinna Gately), sexual, erotic, dark, mysterious and alluring.  In the journey toward our destiny, the god of the underworld, is the supernatural helper who gives us the opportunity to confront our inner demons – the obstacles to our creative and spiritual fulfillment.  While his arrival strikes fear in the hearts of even the bravest women and men, his intention and purpose is benevolent and in service to our greatest good.

Cernunnos

Get Behind Me Satan

The Catholic tradition in which I was raised  taught us to fear temptation and to do everything we can to avoid it, to push it away, to bury it, ignore it, confess it, feel shame and guilt for it.  This fear was then further compounded by the threat of eternal damnation, or worse, demonic possession.  Jesus, however, demonstrated another path.  Jesus did not run from temptation, he did not ignore it or bury it.  He never felt shame or guilt (as far as we know) when tempted, and did not confess or apologize for being human.  Instead, Jesus looked Satan square in the face, listened to what Satan had to say, moved through his own fears, confronted his inner obstacles and found the way to his destiny.  When temptation, the supernatural helper shows up on our path, our job it to stay put, maybe even welcome it, for it is only in confronting our own inner fears, illusions, obstacles that we can ever hope to arrive at the place of our Soul – where we find fulfillment in our spiritual and creative purpose in service to the betterment of the world.  And it is in welcoming the supernatural helper that Satan shall be redeemed.

mists of avalon masks

SOUL is the unique way you are creatively gifted to find meaning, purpose and connection. Soul, when engaged, leaves you feeling fulfilled, content and whole.  My mission is to help you BIRTH YOUR SOUL.  To schedule a workshop or retreat or set up a one-on-one mentoring session, contact Lauri Ann Lumby at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Lessons, Oneness with God, sin, The Seven Deadly Compulsions

The Need to Be Right

Today’s blog explores one of our basic human compulsions that comes directly out of our perceived separation from God and from each other.  This is the need to be right and to make other people wrong. 

Don’t You Get Tired of Being Wrong?

Somewhere around 1976, my father and I were shopping at Zayer Shopper’s City (the Minneapolis pre-curser to WalMart) and found matching    t-shirts that perfectly stated our shared life mantra (at that time).  My dad’s red t-shirt and my blue one boldly stated:

Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Being Wrong?

 I can’t speak for my dad, but for me, being a Capricorn, first-born, type-A, over-achiever and perfectionist had secured my path of righteousness.  I was right and everyone else was wrong….unless of course, they agreed with me.  🙂  Sadly, I was recently shown that these traits did not soften as I grew and “matured,” instead, they have become even more firmly entrenched.  As a grown up, this need to be RIGHT manifested in the following:

  • Contemplation is right, dogma is wrong
  • Bleeding heart liberal democrat is right, everyone else is wrong
  • I’m right, the Institutional Catholic Church is wrong
  • Poverty is right, wealth is wrong
  • I’m right, the law of attraction is wrong
  • Choosing the path of your passion is right, a real job is wrong  etc. etc. etc.

Sadly, I was not entirely aware of how deeply entrenched was my own need to be right until my amazing editor pointed this out in a character in the novel I’m currently working on.  Since that character is ME my editor’s comments were like a bullet RIGHT BETWEEN MY EYES.  OUCH!!!! Yes, the character is firmly entrenched in her own need to be right and sadly, so am I.  Did I say, OUCH!?  I guess I have some work to do!

The Source of This Compulsion

This need to be right flows directly out of our core spiritual wound – the false perception of separation from ourselves, from each other and from God.  Arising out of this wound of separation is the “deadly compulsion” of pride and it is pride that drives our need to be right and to make everyone else wrong.  When we are right, we get to feel superior, better than others, more intelligent, wiser, maybe even more compassionate and humble.  Ha!  All of this needing to be right is ultimately about securing our separation and creating even bigger trenches between ourselves and those in the world that we have the potential to love.

The Remedy to Being Right

The remedy to our need to be right is to embrace humility…..to admit that at the end of the day, WE KNOW NOTHING!  And….to set aside the lens of judgment through which we often view the world.  What is right for me does not have to be right for another and what is right for me does not make the other person wrong.  To put it in the context of beliefs for example:  Contemplation, freedom from constrictions, non-doctrine are absolutely right for me……AND they would be absolutely WRONG for another.  Where the choices that I have made in my spiritual path give me a sense of security and freedom, it would strike terror and insecurity in another.  The invitation for me is to embrace what is right for me while honoring as sacred and holy that which is right for another….even….or maybe even especially….when it is decidedly different than my own personal choices.  The same goes for politics, medicine, education, parenting, relationship choices, etc. etc. etc. If we wish to be free from the “sin” of pride and to heal the perceived separations between us, we are invited to cease this need to be right.   Now…does this mean that murder, war, abuse, bullying, physical violence, stealing are right because someone believes they are right for themselves?  I don’t think so….and I believe that is why we have some basic and mostly universally accepted guidelines for human behavior.  The Ten Commandments and Jesus’ commandment to:  “Love one another as I have loved you,” are two such examples.

Embracing a New Mantra

Now, if I could go back to Zayer Shopper’s City and choose a new t-shirt for myself, I would rather it read something like:

I’m Sorry for All The Times I Had to Be Right

Lauri Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

 

Posted in Gifts of Contemplation, sin

Contemplation and the Nature of Sin

For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,

so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

2 Cor 5:21

 

Thanks to the above scripture, the topic of sin came up in yesterday’s gathering of the Authentic Freedom Contemplative Community.  The concensus of the group was that they did not like the word, “sin” because of all the images that surface connected with guilt, punishment, retribution, etc.  I will share with you here today what I shared with the group that came to me through a commitment to contemplation.

 

Through my own prayer and contemplation (and with the help of other spiritual writers), I have come to understand sin to be merely a symptom of a deeper unhealed wound.  For a reason that cannot be explained, each of us comes into this world with what I have come to call the “unhealed core wound.”  This “wound” arises out of the false perception of separation from God and creates within us a state of anxiety, longing and fear.  This fear and longing then compels us to seek its remedy.  We usually begin this search outside of ourselves which then creates the behaviors and compulsions that we have come to understand as “sin.”  

 

When we understand sin in this way, we are able to stand in a place of compassion rather than judgment.  Sin is no longer something to be condemned or punished, but is seen as a cry for help.  When we act out of our fears and false perceptions it is the deeper wound within calling for healing.  While we may condemn the sin, we no longer feel compelled to condemn the sinner (including ourselves!). 

 

Healing the wound that causes our sinful and compulsive behaviors is the purpose and intention of our spiritual journey.  Contemplation is one vehicle through which this journey of healing can take place.  In contemplation, we allow ourselves to be open to the truth of Oneness and are able to set aside the false perception of separation.  This transformation takes place when we allow ourselves to be transformed by the healing power of God within.   Whether we embark upon this journey through movement disciplines such as yoga or tai chi, or through meditation, journalling, creative endeavors, the process is the same.  We are healed of that core wound so that we can step more freely into our original nature as men and women of peace, compassion and joy.  It is in this state that we will finally find ourselves free from “sin.”